Nothing appears to faze Elena Rybakina at the moment.

On Thursday evening at the Miami Open, the No. 10 seed stayed in the zone to secure her 13th consecutive win. The incoming Indian Wells champion rode out a pair of rollercoaster sets and two notable rain interruptions to defeat Jessica Pegula, 7-6 (3), 6-4.

"I was playing much better when I was down. First set, was very tough. The tie-break could go both ways," Rybakina said on-court after securing her first win over the American in three meetings.

With the victory, Rybakina has now won her past five clashes against Top 3 opponents. Three of those have come during her bid to complete the Sunshine Double, which included taking down the Top 2, Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, at the backend of the BNP Paribas Open.


Against Pegula, the Kazakh played from behind in both sets. In the opener, she erased a break deficit on three occasions, and withstood two attempts by the world No. 3 to serve it out. Both competitors were dialed in on return, and when rallies took shape, Rybakina’s crosscourt forehand and Pegula’s backhand down the line were two of the shots that emerged as difference makers.

At 2-2 in the tie-break, the first weather delay hit. Pegula grabbed the mini break upon play resuming, a short-lived glimpse of hope. Rybakina took over with heavy ball-striking and smart sneaks forward to the net in claiming the final five points. She improved to 7-0 in breakers this season as a result.

Rain then struck again before set two could get underway, this time causing a lengthier pause in play. The start-stop match flow only amplified the struggles for anybody on court to establish a consistent rhythm.

Pegula shook off a 0-40 deficit through clutch serving and control of the baseline to hold in the opening game, then broke with a tremendous short-angled backhand crosscourt return winner. She dropped serve from 3-1 despite holding four game points, but earned the re-break with another well-timed return that drew a netted reply from Rybakina.

Rybakina finished with 29 winners and 39 unforced errors.

Rybakina finished with 29 winners and 39 unforced errors.


Yet, it wasn’t enough. Down 2-4, 40-40, Rybakina defended incredibly in and out of the corners to effectively steal a point. She followed it up with a blazing backhand crosscourt winner to get back on serve. A quick hold was followed by another break clinched off a compact backhand. On brand, one of Rybakina's best service games of the night capped off the topsy-turvy encounter.

"I knew that if it's gonna go to the third set, it's gonna be much more difficult. So I maybe risked a bit more even in the end of the second set," the 23-year-old told press.

"It's not easy to play against her because she keeps the ball really low, and it's difficult to redirect the ball. Also, she played well."

Rybakina awaits the winner of Petra Kvitova and Sorana Cirstea in Friday's second semifinal. For Pegula, she was stopped in the final four of the 1000-level event at Hard Rock Stadium for the second year running, though valiantly equaled the result after saving two match points to edge Anastasia Potapova in the quarterfinals.

First stat: Rybakina has struck 108 aces during her 13-match unbeaten run. Second stat: Rybakina has hit double-digit aces in all five of her Miami wins.